Improving your Gut Health in the New Year

Did you know your gut health plays a big role in your immune system? A registered dietitian offers advice on ways to improve your gut health in the new year.

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CLEVELAND – If getting healthy was your new year’s resolution, it’s important to make sure you’re also paying special attention to your gut health.

“Gut health is important because it harnesses 80% of our immune boosting cells,” said Julia Zumpano, RD, registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic. “So most of our immune system is in our gut. Our gut is responsible for digesting food, and gut health can also affect our brain health and mental health.”

So, how do you know if you have poor gut health?

Zumpano said some of the more obvious signs can include heartburn, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.

There’s no quick fix for improving gut health. The process can take time and requires a change in diet.

It may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.

She recommends slowly eliminating junk foods that can cause inflammation and feed bad gut bacteria.

In addition, you should eat more fruits and vegetables, along with more fiber.

You can also include more foods that have probiotics.

She said some may benefit from probiotic supplements, but it’s best to get them from food if you can.

“Fermented foods are also very helpful, so like kimchi, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, yogurts, those are all good sources,” she said. “In some cases you could benefit from a supplement, but we really want to try to clean up our diet and provide good foods that are going to support that healthy gut first.”

Zumpano said stress can also impact gut health, so finding ways to de-stress is beneficial.

The same goes for exercising more, which can aid in digestion.

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